RELIGIOUS FREEDOM AND INTERNET FREEDOM: IS THERE A CORRELATION?
This thesis will examine the religion and internet policies of Brazil, India, and China to determine if strict rules regarding religious freedom also amount to strict internet regulations. Comparing the laws and social practices of these countries will lead to the determination of how a country addresses these issues that are more complex than basic freedoms. Brazil, India, and China were chosen because of they are part of the five countries that are emerging as leaders of the developing world. Internet freedom will be analyzed based on reports of censorship, government interference/surveillance, and laws governing freedom of expression. Religious freedom will be determined based on laws and policies promoting or repressing freedom of expression with regards to religious beliefs, and reports of discrimination because of religious beliefs.First, Brazil's policies will be examined because it has adopted measures to recognize and protect freedom of religion by enacting laws that recognize all faiths equally. The success of Brazil's efforts is seen in its minimal hostilities and discrimination, as well as government positions separating church and state. India will be examined next, where there will be a focus on India's government controls over individual rights while also looking at its efforts towards establishing itself as a developed country. China also faces similar struggles of establishing itself as a developed nation. It is clear that China is working to attract trade and subsequent prosperity; this paper will establish what, if any, concessions it makes to limit censorship and firewalls. Lastly, this thesis will examine the role of international organizations and how they interact with the countries under discussion. When discussing communications that cross borders, it is important to understand the international framework that is in place to handle these issues.Sources will include reports of government initiatives, oversight organizations, and media stories on how freely and openly people can practice their religion, as well how freely and openly they can access and communicate on the internet. The aim of this thesis is to determine if a country's policies on religious freedom can indicate internet freedom. An understanding of these policies is critical to international governance, as the development of the internet and its surrounding technologies.
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